Reading project cited as an example of the success of Pa. investment in redevelopment
Neil Weaver stood looking out the large windows that fill the walls of the 10th floor of the Medical Arts Building in downtown Reading on Friday morning.
To his left, at the base of Mount Penn, the castle-like Reading High School. To his right, the tops of the Berks County courthouse and county services building jutted skyward.
And in the middle, off in the distance, the Pagoda poked above the mountain’s tree line.
It will sure make quite a view for the person who eventually lives in the apartment that will be built in the space, the secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development quipped.
The thin and tall Medical Arts Building at 226 and 230 N. Fifth Street is undergoing a major renovation. Owned by William and Judith McMahon of Exeter Township, the 1929 structure is receiving a major makeover and an addition at the hands of local developer Alan Shuman.
After sitting mostly vacant since 1976, the plan is to convert the 12-story building into a mix of retail and residential space. When complete, it will include 35 apartments.
Part of getting to that point is support from the state. And that’s why Weaver visited it Friday.
In December, the project was awarded a $2.25 million grant through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Weaver said he believes the state’s investment in the project — as well as in other projects around Reading and Berks — is money well spent.
“Every time I come here there’s something new, something exciting,” he said.
Weaver said he feels Reading is a city moving in the right direction, adding that it should be a model for cities across the state.
State Rep. Manny Guzman, who joined Weaver on his tour, said he couldn’t agree more about prospects for the city he calls home.
“We all want to see Reading become that diamond in the rough we all know it can be,” he said. “I wholeheartedly believe in the future of Reading.”
Mayor Eddie Moran likewise spoke about Reading’s future, citing the Medical Arts Building as one example of the exciting things that are happening.
“We’re a city on the rise,” he said.
For more information about the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program visit budget.pa.gov/Programs/RACP.